...that real life confuses you a bit?
This morning I was reading Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips on the train to work.
I'd just got to the part where two of the characters take the train to the underworld with the souls of the dead when my train pulled into Victoria station. I'm normally pretty slow at getting ready to go anyway (need to put on coat, hat, scarf, put mp3 player in coat pocket, put handbag over shoulder, grab other bad) but I was even SLOWER this morning and by the time I moved out of my seat my carriage was empty. No worries, I thought as I walked toward the door, it just means there will be less of a cram at the ticket barriers.
The doors were closed.
It's fine, I thought. Just open them.
Press Open again.
The doors remain closed. The open button wasn't lit up.
Shit, I thought. I'm locked in.
I stood there, frantically pressing the button for several minutes until I realise the doors WERE NOT GOING TO OPEN.
So I walked to the next carriage. The open button wasn't lit up.
So I walked to the next carriage and the next and the next.
I was locked in the train!
I started to feel a bit frantic and hurried through the train searching for a way out. And then...
I saw a cleaner. Hooray!
"Excuse me," I said.
The cleaner ignored me and continued collecting newspapers and stuffing them into her clear plastic sack.
"Excuse me," I said, louder.
Still no response. Not even a flicker that she'd heard me.
"Excuse me," I said again, nearly shouting.
The cleaner reached into her pocket and pulled out her mobile phone and started texting someone.
It was in that moment that fiction blurred with reality and for one teeny tiny millisecond I wondered if I'd actually had a heart attack in my seat, not noticed I was dead and was now a lost soul wondering the Brighton to London train for all eternity. It didn't help that in MY novel one of the characters wants to haunt a train station.
I ran back down the train. There HAD to be a way out somehow.
And found an Italian couple who were also locked in. And they smiled at me and spoke. Hoorah, I wasn't a ghost after all, just incredibly dozy.
After about ten minutes during which the Italian pressed their faces up against the windows and screamed (they were posing for photos for their friends who were on the platform) the overhead voice announced "This is the Brighton train, stopping at..." and finally, FINALLY the doors opened.
I was free.